The EMBO journal

pRb is an obesity suppressor in hypothalamus and high-fat diet inhibits pRb in this location.

PMID 23403926


pRb is frequently inactivated in tumours by mutations or phosphorylation. Here, we investigated whether pRb plays a role in obesity. The Arcuate nucleus (ARC) in hypothalamus contains antagonizing POMC and AGRP/NPY neurons for negative and positive energy balance, respectively. Various aspects of ARC neurons are affected in high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obesity mouse model. Using this model, we show that HFD, as well as pharmacological activation of AMPK, induces pRb phosphorylation and E2F target gene de-repression in ARC neurons. Some affected neurons express POMC; and deleting Rb1 in POMC neurons induces E2F target gene de-repression, cell-cycle re-entry, apoptosis, and a hyperphagia-obesity-diabetes syndrome. These defects can be corrected by combined deletion of E2f1. In contrast, deleting Rb1 in the antagonizing AGRP/NPY neurons shows no effects. Thus, pRb-E2F1 is an obesity suppression mechanism in ARC POMC neurons and HFD-AMPK inhibits this mechanism by phosphorylating pRb in this location.

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